The Halifax Daily News
Wednesday, January 8, 1997

Net provider willingly gave police access to file

by Shaune Mackinley,

Stuart Friedman's home wasn't the only place police looked for evidence Monday - they also raided his personal file at Chebucto Community Net, his Internet provider.

Chebucto spokesman John van Gurp said the organization did not resist.

"They had a warrant but they wouldn't have had to have that", he said.

Chebucto has a good relationship with police, he said.

Halifax regional police Const. Gary Martin said Chebucto won't be charged.

Van Gurp said providers can't be expected to monitor clients. All users sign a contract when they join Chebucto agreeing not to engage in illegal online activity.

Porn fans, he said, make up only a small portion of Internet users.

"It's a tiny corner of the Net, there's also a tiny fraction of society that will exploit whatever medium they can find for their own goals, for their own purposes, whether that's child pornography or some other nefarious activity", he said.

McMaster University computer science professor David Jones is president of Electronic Frontier Canada, a group of Internet users committed to ensuring users' Charter rights are not violated.

Police should have the same ability to investigate crime on the Internet as they do elsewhere, he said.

"If the guy was ordering illegal stuff that was crossing the border and Canada Customs realizes it and later got a warrant and charged him, I don't think his rights have been violated", he said.

No Internet provider should open personal files to investigators without a search warrant, he said.

Copyright © 1997 by the Halifax Daily News. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted with permission.